43 minutes | Jun 1, 2020

Episode 4:A Conversation About Real Estate in the Age of COVID-19

Erin Davis: Hello, and welcome to a special edition of REAL TIME. I’m your host, Erin Davis, and I’m so glad you could join us. It’s a different kind of show today with five guests in all, each with their own wisdom and perspective on something that’s affecting every one of us. In response to current conditions, businesses and REALTORS® need to react to a new world though temporary, where human interaction is limited or even discouraged at times. The real estate industry built on relationships will be significantly impacted, but within adverse conditions come opportunities, you know that right, and new human behaviors. For REALTORS®, maintaining a personal connection is crucial. This CREA REAL TIME podcast is a chance to provide REALTORS® with insights of how you can transform to be more adept in a digital retail environment. In this special fourth episode of REAL TIME, we’ve gathered representatives from various levels within the industry to provide guidance, clarity, and give CREA members, you, real-world tools to implement, and we’re going to start at the top. Costa Poulopoulos is Chair of CREAs Board of Directors, and has been a REALTOR® since 1987, and has served as past president of the London St. Thomas Association of REALTORS®, LSTAR. You’ve been in this position Costa since mid-April. Can we talk about your timing? Costa Poulopoulos: You know, Erin, it’s been unbelievable. They had asked me at the Canadian Real Estate Association, “Listen, you’re coming into this position. What are you envisioned for your theme? Every new chair or president has a theme. Past president Jason had a theme about teamwork. What are you envisioning?” I said, “Well, to be quite honest with you I’d like to put out there that it’s about embracing change. Change is something that we need to embrace.” Boy, could that not be more true in today’s environment than it was back in January when we had that meeting? Erin: No kidding, right? I think we’re really seeing in 2020, what leadership is all about. Let’s talk about the top of the ladder and where you are and what action CREA is taking to support its members in response to COVID-19. I think you’ve really got a good handle on this. Costa: As you said, COVID-19 the pandemic crisis drastically affected all of us though. It’s changed our lives, it’s the way we shop, the way we stay fit, the way we work and more so in our industry, in our profession, and in the real estate community. There’s no aspect of our lives that has not been impacted by this. What we’re doing at the national association is we’re keeping regular communication with boards and associations across the country that would be local boards, provincial associations across different channels as it pertains to COVID-19 and the effects that it has on members. Erin: We’re hearing the phrase ‘new normal’ a lot. It’s really hard, I’m sure to keep up with the constant stream of changes and the always moving finish line. How are you managing to do that? Costa: What we’ve done at CREA is we’ve actually in addition to sending out regular communications, emails, and we keep telling our members, “Check your emails regularly.” If not, we’ve created a dynamic website at our CREA.ca website there’s a hub there, the Coronavirus communications hub, the COVID-19 hub, and it’s dynamic, it’s changing, it’s being updated constantly. There’s three categories that we’ve tackled. It’s a Ready Set Go, type three parts to it. The ready phase is what REALTORS® need to know to protect themselves, to how to leverage and sustain themselves as we work together to flatten the curve of the pandemic. The next part is the set part, and that’s where we share training and information about tools and services to help REALTORS® and consumers, help them make informed decisions, including data about the economic toll on markets and an outlook for the recovery. This is about getting armed and ready once we’re ready to go. Then finally, the third step is the go stage, which once government and health experts advise a return to normal, or as you said, Erin, a new normal, and we see more regular economic activity. That’s what we’re going to work together to promote REALTOR® value to government and to Canadians consumers, and we’ll equip our members with information on support programs, and data, and stats about consumer expectations and behaviors. Erin: I love the way, Costa, that you have your sort of message to members there on the website as well, because connection is so important. Of course, the stream of communication and the new information that’s coming out, you’re leaning toward a new, more virtual reality, aren’t you as 2020 goes on? Costa: Yes, we are. We’re all having to learn to adapt to this new virtual reality. I can tell you that we have members that have told us they had never been on a video call, never really applied a virtual type of environment, either on an open house or a showing. Yet, now they’ve gone from zero to 100 in literally a matter of two days. The new vocabulary is Zoom meetings or video conferences, and they’ve all adapted quite well. Erin: That’s good. The learning curve has been steep. What kind of response are you getting from members? Ones who are expressing their concern or their optimism, what are you hearing from the ground? If you will, Costa, what are people telling you? Costa: We’re all in this together, it doesn’t matter what part of the country we’re at. This is one thing that we keep saying is for those of us REALTORS® have been in this profession, in this industry for many years, this is my 33rd year now, we face challenges before, we’ve faced crises before. At the time they were all frightening and they were all real. We didn’t know how we were going to come out of it. There’s one thing that has endured in all of those things and this is what’s going to endure in this crisis and that is consumers need for trusted advisors, and the consumers need for expertise and the value of a strong REALTOR® brand. As we’re coming out of this, that’s going to be important, where at all levels, in our organized real estate world, in our REALTOR® community, from the REALTOR® member on the street to the broker-owner, to the brokerages and all brands, local associations, provincials along with our nationals, we all have to work together to raise the bar of professionalism. Because we will be the go-to source when we get out of this post-pandemic to help navigate through the craziness and consumers are going to be looking to us to make sense of it. Erin: Back with Costa Poulopoulos chair of CREAs Board of Directors in a moment with a new take on a very familiar real estate motto. As you enjoy this special podcast today with a coffee or your favorite tea, here’s another spot you’ll want to enjoy CREA Cafe. It’s a cozy place for REALTORS® to connect and share thoughts and insights on the latest industry happenings with insightful new content, creative weekly, join the conversation at CREACafe.ca. Still, to come we’re going to talk with REALTORS® on the provincial and local levels, but right now, back to CREA Board of Directors, Chair, Costa Poulopoulos. Costa: In real estate is location, location, location, well, during this pandemic, it’s communicate, communicate, communicate, and stay in touch and keep in touch. That’s where CREA and the associations working together collaboratively are putting out messaging that is relevant. That’s part of the COVID-19 hub that we have a lot of information there, and that’s why we encourage our members to visit that site frequently, to be informed, and to share what’s on there. Erin: At the top of the ladder, you are dealing with the politicians at the top of the ladder too, Costa. How is CREA actively collaborating with the government to advocate for REALTORS® and Canadian homeowners, buyers, and sellers? Costa: Since the emergence of COVID-19, CREA has had ongoing discussions with government departments and agencies and we’ve underlined the unique challenges that are facing REALTORS®, and the potentially devastating outcomes of any interruptions to the day-to-day businesses that we face. Kudos to the CREA team and the CREA staff, they have been working tirelessly going through having meetings. Kudos to the government this is not a time to talk partisan politics. You have to give credit where credit is due all parties together. Put out a stimulus package in a short period of time with that kind of a fluidity or monetary impact into the system is amazing. This is something that would take six months to 18 months, that they turned around in two weeks. It was a ready, fire, aim approach and they didn’t really get it right, right away. They were doing their best to get out the stimulus package. CREA is monitoring and having great discussions, ongoing discussions to make sure that these programs also capture the REALTOR® community. Erin: That really, seems to me, the value in being a member of CREA is that you have a voice in Ottawa or wherever your government is provincially and locally. Because you’re busy trying to figure out how to do a Zoom call while somebody else is taking care of the big picture stuff, so thank you for that. Costa: We appreciate that, Erin. I have to say, in addition to that, we encourage, and we welcome feedback from our members and our broker-owners because it’s what their input they were going to keep going back to government and keep with these ongoing discussions to make sure that we help government get it right and that we include our members across the country. I have to give kudos to our members and our broker-owners and our brokerages, they have been instrumental in giving us great feedback. That’s how we’ve navigated through and made sense of this. Erin: I love the sense of optimism I’m getting talking with you here today. I hope that people listening are feeling that, too. On that note, as things may or may not return to the, normal, quote unquote, we’re used to, whatever that was, whatever it’s going to be, what single piece of advice, Costa, would you give to REALTORS® as we emerge from the pandemic? Costa: The one thing I would say is we will get out of this, and we will be the go-to source for all things real estate, our expertise. We will be deemed as trusted advisors as we have been in the past. We will continue to play that role, so communicate, communicate, communicate, stay in touch with your client base, with consumers, be the go-to source, provide information that’s valuable. Post-pandemic, when things get back to a new normal for the time being, we will be there to help consumers navigate through this crisis. Erin: Thank you, Costa. I’ll let you get back to work. I know you are a busy man. We’ll look forward to talking to you again. Thanks for your time today. Costa: Always a pleasure. Thank you, Erin. Erin: Next up, we’ll visit Manitoba and British Columbia for a provincial and local perspective on what we’re going through now and what we might expect. Last year, there were 1.6 million searches for REALTORS® on REALTOR.ca. A lot has changed in 2020, but you know what hasn’t? Your opportunity to make the most of those searches with the REALTOR.ca tools provided as part of your CREA membership. We’re going from national to provincial and local now on REAL TIME. We have two guests chosen just for you today. Corinne Caldwell is COO of the British Columbia Real Estate Association. Corinne is a passionate people leader, finance strategist, and innovator. She’s received the chartered director designation and volunteers as a finance committee member, facilitator, and coach with several organizations. Joining Corinne is Marina James, CEO of WinnipegREALTORS. Marina was President and CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg for seven years and has more than 22 years of executive management experience. First off, welcome, and Marina, can you share with us how you have put CREA.ca’s Ready Set Go to work in your life?   Marina James: That’s a good question. So much has changed for us. We still know the foundational elements of real estate. We have so many new tools through the process. We’ve come out of this or coming out of it with more diverse requirements on all of us. At the same time, there’s been a tremendous amount of pressure on REALTORS® and the real estate economy, so Ready Set Go. It’s been twists and turns and stumbles and pickups. That’s for sure. Erin: Absolutely. It sounds like a podcast. Corinne, has COVID-19 impacted memberships provincially or locally that you can speak to? Corinne: Certainly. We’re seeing a drop in membership numbers. Certainly, some decreases in the number of individuals that are joining the profession. We’re anticipating seeing some brokerage closures over the next while. That said, I have to commend the profession because there’s been a lot of adaptation, increased learning. We’ve seen a huge uptake in our professional development courses. Everybody is learning all these new tools and starting to put them into action. We’re also seeing a lot of communication between REALTORS®, between REALTORS® and their clients, between offices. It seems to be the way of doing things these days, it’s over communication. That’s creating a lot of camaraderie that maybe hasn’t been there as much in the past, and COVID-19 has helped to enforce that. I think the other piece that we’re seeing with membership is really looking for ways for community outreach. We’re seeing it in a number of different communities. That’s really great for the membership as a whole and when we start talking about things like REALTORS® Care and their involvement in their communities and in the country as a whole. Erin: It sounds like some potential for some positive outcomes as well. Corinne: Absolutely. Erin: Are you seeing that too, Marina, in Winnipeg? Marina: Sure, absolutely. Our business right now has been off pace 30% to 40%. It’s given our realtor members time to look at their own businesses and audit of their business operations, set to planning, staying in touch with their client base. As well as Corinne, mentioned, learning as much as possible through taking classes and helping others for sure. Erin: Costa mention communicate, communicate, communicate instead of location, location, location being the new mantra at least for 2020 for CREA members. What is the importance of creating personal connections right now? You’ve spoken to some of those. What are you doing personally? We’ll start with you, Corinne in BC. Corinne: Similar to what Costa is saying, we are encouraging everybody to over-communicate and to have those conversations. Virtual is more difficult to create that relationship. As we know, real estate is set on the creation of relationships. The more that the members can do to reach out to their clients, the brokerages can do to reach out to their REALTORS® and we’re seeing a lot of that already. There’s a lot of sales meetings that have been moved online. We’re seeing REALTORS® use online software to present offers, to visit homes. All of the changes that have had to be made as part of the health guidelines is really looking to a lot of communication through virtual tool. Certainly, we’re starting to see that become more and more effective as more REALTORS® learn how to use it and how to maintain those relationships as a result of the tools. Erin: Coming up on REAL TIME, unmasking what happens inside today’s open houses. Now, you’re hearing us talking about Ready Set Go. Let’s hit the refresh button. The Canadian Real Estate Association, CREA, continues to highlight the unique challenges facing REALTORS® in ongoing discussions with government departments and agencies. We created this dynamic content hub, a collaboration between all CREA departments with valuable content and insight into all aspects of how this pandemic is affecting CREA members. This microsite is populated with the resources to help REALTORS® get ready and set to go. Outlining everything you need now and we’ll need in the future. Come back often to find new information, be it government collaborations, tech information, webinars or even how to deal with legal issues. Go to CREA.ca for Ready Set Go.  Now, let us go back to our guests, Corinne Caldwell, COO of the BC Real Estate Association, and Marina James, CEO of WinnipegREALTORS. Marina, take us inside. What for you is a typical open house now, where you are? Marina: You see a lot of masks out now, I would say that that’s really become an accepted methodology for people being out in Manitoba. The new measures are appropriate. They’re the same as you see in retail outlets. People know to stay six feet apart. The houses for open houses are locked in between showings with no more than two people through at a time in a 10-minute interval. Also, REALTORS® are encouraging if you don’t want to wait, then use it as an opportunity to book an exclusive showing later on. In the meantime, if you do stay appropriately distanced, don’t use washrooms, don’t touch anything. REALTORS® are turning on all the lights, making sure the doors are open. Also, saying, “If you do want to see something, we’ll touch it for you. We’ll use the sanitizer to refresh it, the property upon completion.” Erin: It’s all about making the client who’s coming through the house, the potential client feel safe, feel secure, feel like you should feel in a home. Marina: Yes. Also, there are a number of forms as well to fill out that are new to a process. Because if a realtor does need to get in touch with people that have been through an open house, they’ll be keeping lists and as well as having health disclosure forms even for our offices here or any office you’re going into. Even if you’re going into a bank, you’re being asked if you’ve been around anyone who’s been ill or if you’ve been ill. I think it’s just the way that we have to disclose at this time. Erin: Corinne, do you expect a lasting change in how we conduct things like open houses, life in the office, meetings with clients? If you were going to look in a crystal, what would you predict, Corinne? Corinne: I think there’s going to be a number of changes that come from this, the use of the virtual tools for live tours and visit, using these tools. Where I don’t think that it will necessarily be that virtual tools will replace the in-person going forward, I think what we’ll start to see is a bit of a transition, instead of a buyer wanting to see 10 different homes in-person they may want to see five or six of them virtually, and then choose from those the ones that they want to see in person. Starting to see more of a use of the tools is the initial viewing of a home before moving into those next steps. I think the other piece is really going to be around how offices are run themselves. Up until this point there’s been an understanding that a lot of the work can’t be done from home, you need to come into the office and you need to have that interaction. This time apart has shown that not to be true. Where I think we will continue to see a lot of in-person interaction, there will be a combination of the work from home, a combination of use of new virtual tools as well as the tried and tested ways of doing real estate. Erin: How are you feeling about that? Does this give you a little bit of excitement? Yes, the learning curve is steep as we discussed with Costa, but it’s stepping off into a bit of a new adventure or am I being too Pollyanna here? Corrine: I think it’s absolutely a new adventure. One of the things that we’ve been working on is helping REALTORS® to understand what the obligations are as a result of that. Doing a lot of webinars and resources around what are the implications for privacy of making some of these changes and what are the implications to disclosures, contracts. Generally, what do you should be aware of so that you are continuing to meet all of those the rules and regulations to practice real estate. Also, to take advantage of some of the opportunities that the brokerages are jumping on board with and the member boards are providing additional resources around, so that all of us together are providing a set of resources to help everyone take advantage of the opportunities that are being presented. Erin: As we get set to talk with Phil Soper and Richard Silver, let’s wrap this up with your advice. I’m going to ask you, Marina, as we step into this new normal or adventure or however you want to frame it, what single piece of advice would you give to REALTORS® listening as we emerge from the pandemic? Marina: I’m going to give you three points of interest. First, is create your own culture of 100% responsibility. In all instances I’m a big believer in 100% responsibility, step up and see yourself always as an agent of change. That means embracing a lot of all this learning that we’re taking in but at the same time don’t lose some of the other important elements for the future. Lead with purpose. We can all shift away from purpose but we need to win people with our why and become a master of storytelling. Purpose is the engine for sure that drives our success. If you don’t know what your purpose is you should be asking yourself that. Finally, it’s got to be good for yourself, good for the people and good for the planet alongside a sense of community to be a true differentiator. That, in itself, could attract our REALTORS® some new buyers. Erin: Thank you. Marina James CEO of WinnipegREALTORS and Corinne Caldwell COO of the British Columbia Real Estate Association. What is your piece of advice for REALTORS® coming out of this? Corrine: I would agree with a lot of what Marina said but I would add on, continue to develop yourself. This is a time to do that additional professional development, learn the new tools. Be aware of what’s out there, make sure that you are on side with the rules and regulations that are coming because they don’t change in a time of pandemic. The other one would really be over-communicate. Talk to your clients, talk to the neighbors of your clients. Make sure that everybody is aware of what you’re doing to protect yourself, your clients, your community so that we don’t have concerns around perception of REALTORS® that may not be true and might give some of that reputational risk. Really being able to communicate overcomes a lot of that and can be positive for the profession going forward. Erin: What a great note to end on. Thank you both. Up next we’ve got two prominent REALTORS® waiting in the wings to talk about the boots on the ground franchise and realtor level with the tools you can use, and what you might expect as we move with both 2020 hindsight and foresight.  Hey, for some insight offering free engaging content for your social feeds check out REALTOR.ca Living Room from housing trends to design tutorials. Living Room is here to bring you entertaining and the inspiring articles. Joining us in our CREA REAL TIME Living Room now are Phil Soper, President of Royal LePage Canada and CEO of Bridgemarq Real Estate Services, a Brookfield Company. Also, here for you now is Richard Silver. He’s a past Director-at-Large for the Canadian Real Estate Association and past President for the Toronto Real Estate Board. He’s a sales representative at Sotheby’s International Realty in Toronto. Pleasure to have you with us today, gentlemen. Thank you much for taking the time. Richard you approach this conversation from a very intimate and boots on the ground perspective because your home just closed a sale last month. How was it different from, I’m sure the myriad other times you’ve sold homes for yourself and for others in the past. Richard: I actually had to take my own advice. Believe it or not. I had been looking and what was happening with the market I’d had the property on the market just before COVID hit us. We had a couple, actually, four second showing so that I knew that there was interest and I had to reduce the price. I did a reduction on the price and about three or four days we had three offers. I took my advice. I reduced and we sold. Erin: All right, that’s good. Physician heal thyself, as it were. Richard: Exactly.  Erin: When was the last time anybody in Toronto had to reduce the price on a house? Richard: It’s true. We’ve been, basically, I think, Phil, we’ve probably what 16 years of great to market here? Phil: Yes. It is possible for a client to get greedy and over pricing any market when they put a property up for sale. In general, you’re absolutely right, Erin, it’s been a seller’s market for most of the last 20 years. Erin: What do you think is going to happen when its doors open? We’re all anticipating that as things happen bit by bit by bit, province by province. Is there going to be all of a sudden sea of homes going on the market? What are your spidey-senses telling you, Phil? Phil: It’s interesting during the crisis, as before, in most parts of Canada we had a housing shortage. It sounds like a strange thing to say. You have demand plummet. People are told to isolate at home and only transact in real estate if it is an emergency. Yet, the number of buyers we’ve had in the market coast to coast has exceeded the number of homes we’ve had for sale with some exceptions. Calgary stands out as a place where the inventory level has climbed faster than the number of buyers in market. In general, the biggest social problem facing a lot of parts of Canada coming into the crisis, which was a housing shortage remains true coming out of the crisis. We need more people to feel comfortable, to list their homes and to trade because the buyers are certainly there. Erin: Then, what can REALTORS® do to ensure they’re building and maintaining a positive reputation even if they do feel like they’re in that place of not knowing right now? I’ll ask you first, Richard. Richard: I think the only thing we can be sure about is today’s market. The REALTORS® have to be very, very up on what’s happening in their marketplace. How many sales? What the prices are? All of those things we’ve always had to do, but that feeling of “No matter what price I put on this property, it look after itself because the market’s on the move.” I think we have to revisit that. I think we have to be really, really honest with our clients as to “This is the market today. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen tomorrow. My sense may be A, B, or C but let’s deal with the price today and let’s talk about that. If you need to get sold let’s get you sold as soon as we can and we’ll look after this. We are there, that’s our job. We are there to help you.” That’s the main message we need to let people know. “We’ll do whatever we can to sell your property in the best way possible and bring your dreams to some reality.” Erin: Phil? Phil: A strong realtor is an advisor to their client. As the years go by the skills that the advisor has to take on and be able to provide to their client changes, financial services advice has always been something that’s important for a realtor to provide. Certainly, REALTORS® have been leaned on to understand everything from school districts, to transportation hubs, and interior decorating and trends with living facilities. Added to that kit bag of services that we provide to Canadian home consumers, home buying and selling consumers will now be safe practices. Safe practices that keep people in the post COVID-19 era feeling comfortable that the buying and selling process is something they can do without putting themselves or their family at risk. I think it’ll extend for a significant amount of time. Erin: It’s interesting that you were talking about the list of things that people are becoming more knowledgeable about, whether it’s decorating tips or closeness to schools, and all of the things that you’ve supplied potential clients with. These are all available at realtor.ca. As you heard just a few moments ago, talking with Corinne and Marina, the learning curve is so steep right now. As we all dive into the deep end of the virtual pool, what are you using or supporting in terms of a more digital marketplace these days? I’ll ask you, Phil, to start that off? Phil: It’s challenging because our people are busy, and there can be a feeling of “If it’s not broke, don’t try to fix it. What I’ve got now is fine.” That wasn’t a possibility during this crisis. It was change and change immediately within hours or perish. Guess what? Canadian society changed, business overall changed, and the way in which the Canadian Real Estate Association and all of its members from coast to coast, operated chain, they turned on a dime. We will learn from that. We will take those digital practices in places where they add value to a realtor or a real estate company, and more importantly to a consumer client and we’ll hang on to them. One of the silver linings of this crisis has been an acceleration of this industry into the 2020s. We joined other industries and being absolutely up-to-date and willing to accept new ways of doing business. This crisis will have move Canadians overall into a place where they’ll be more accepting of digital commerce. It’s not like online bank and any other forms of digital commerce haven’t been around for a long time. This is a whole sale change to a completely new plateau of productivity. Erin: You’re listening to REAL TIME brought to you by CREA, the Canadian Real Estate Association. Back in a moment with Phil Soper, President of Royal LePage, Canada, and CEO of Bridgemarq, and Richard Silver who is past President of the Toronto Real Estate Board and past Director-at-Large for CREA, as well as sales rep for Sotheby’s International Realty in Toronto. It was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr who said, “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” As we sail, what are sometimes choppy, uncharted waters, we are all in the same boat, but always know that CREA is here for its members as we set sail for new and brighter horizons for great content and Ready Set Go. Don’t forget to visit crea.ca Richard having started our conversation, talking about you selling your own home, were there any tools in this pandemic age in selling your house that you had never used before that worked out for you? Richard: I have always been a big proponent of video and so I’ve done lots of tours of the areas that I live in, the communities and everything, but I never really got into a– we always shot videos, but professional videos of properties. Now, we’re doing walk-throughs either within our homes, using the photos and Zoom, or actually going out to the properties and doing Facebook lives, and I did all those. I think that was a big change. Not only that, one of the difficult things, I hate to see our population dealing with this, but more than ever, we’ve had people at their computers and looking online. It’s all about our communication with our clients, with people who are interested in the market. I also started a video series. I interviewed almost all of my service providers that I would normally use, find out what their markets were, talk to them about that. Talk to them about COVID-19 protocols that they were using and trying to do their job, and if they were able to do their job, and so it was very interesting. Then I went across Canada, in the United States and I talked to a lot of my colleagues who I’d met networking and I just said, “What’s happening in your state? What’s happening in your province?” There were amazing things that we learned, and hopefully, the people who’ve watched the videos learn to as well as to– because some of our clients have secondary properties they’re up in Muskoka or they’re down in Florida. I was able to get a sense from those REALTORS® as to what was happening in their marketplaces. I’ve become this video person that I never thought it would have been. That’s been the biggest change. At the end of the day, we are communicators. We started communicating face to face. We moved to more and more to the telephone. We moved it more and more to email. Now, we’re doing a lot on video, because people really like, if you can’t physically see them and you’re only talking to them on the phone, they really like to see your expression. They really like to talk to you and I think the video options that we have now are just– they’re the game changer. Phil: Which leads us to our final question for this REAL TIME podcast. Everyone else has wrapped up their segment, answering this and I’m anxious to hear what you gentlemen have to say. With things possibly or possibly not returning to the normal that we’re used to, what single piece of advice would you give to REALTORS® as we emerge from the pandemic? I’ll ask you first, Phil Soper, what do you think? Phil: REALTORS® that rise to the top of this industry do so by being incredibly organized and working very hard. Those attributes do not change the tools that you use may change, you may be doing more with your clients using technology, using live video technology in the future, as you are now, you may be able to hang on to some of that. The core fundamentals of being responsive, being educated, working hard will translate into success. The coming into this crisis, Canada had the highest rate of household formation of any advanced nation on the planet, and that hasn’t changed. We’re still, in my mind, the best place to practice real estate in the world. People who focus on the client and work hard will continue to succeed. Erin: Richard, your single piece of advice as we head through or continue in these uncertain days, what do you say? Richard: I would say this to my colleagues. I think right now you have to be very careful about how you present the message because there are going to be shifts that we’re going to be dealing with. You have to not be a cheerleader as much as a supporter. I think you have to let your clients know that if there are issues with the sale, if there are issues with the market, you will give them the best guidance possible. Saying that “We are going to go back to a new normal or everything will be fine and the market will clear and you’ll get the same price you got a year ago,” I think you just have to be realistic. I think you have to give them advice that is advice for today not necessarily down the future, but you also have to say to them, “I have to be realistic with you. These are the options. I can help you with the process, but you are in charge of the decisions. No matter what decisions you make, I’m there for you.” I think that’s the most important thing. It’s bit of an attitude change, because the market looked after itself previously. I don’t know that the market will look after itself as much now. Erin: You’ve got some heavier lifting to do moving forward as do we all. Richard: Yes. I look forward to it. In 40 years in real estate, I’ve been there a couple of times when the market has shifted the ones that come out and the ones that are working and deal with all of the changes with a positive attitude will do very well and they will survive. Erin: Thank you so much both of you for your time today. We wish you both, every success moving through the rest of this year. We appreciate your time on REAL TIME. Richard: Pleasure. Phil: Thank you so much. Erin: If you enjoy today’s conversation, waiting to hear what we’ve got for you next time. We’re going to talk with Riti Verma. She’s the founder of a prominent Canadian online agent ranking site. Hear the story of its humble beginnings over a dinner table conversation. Who knows what spark it may ignite for you. Be sure to hit that subscribe button now so you don’t miss it. Now, each REAL TIME podcast, we love to hear from you with the best advice you’ve got to share or have received as a realtor, 1-888-768-6793 is our number. Thank you to Lauren for leaving this message. Lauren Haw: Hi, my name is Lauren Haw. I’m the Broker of Record, and CEO, Zoocasa Realty based in southern Ontario. Here are some key learnings and tips that I can share that others in the industry may benefit from. I’ll start by saying that it’s encouraging that we’ve seen a number of real estate agents that have adapted their approach to working with clients during the state of lockdown almost overnight. In the very least, if you haven’t already, you have to take time to invest in these online tools like Zoom, Loom, and G-meet to ensure that you’re able to service your clients effectively during these times. Another piece of advice that I would share with others in the industry is that now more than ever, consumers and clients are looking for us as agents for clarity and expertise to help them navigate a quickly changing real estate marketplace, as they rely on our insight to understand how they may personally be impacted by these changes. I believe that these challenging times are highlighting the true value of professional full-time real estate advisors. It has proven to be a time for the best amongst us to deepen our relationships while we advise and care for our clients during a period of confusion and uncertainty. It’s important to let data drive our conversations with our clients. Go into meetings armed with the most recent and relevant data points and hyper-local market trends that are available to you as an industry professional. This is your opportunity to provide a high level of advisory value to clients. Most importantly, this is a good time to simply check in and build meaningful relationships with our clients. Thank you so much. I hope to talk with you soon. Erin: Thanks again, Lauren from Zoocasa Realty. We want to hear from you so get this number down, 1-888-768-6793. Do it. As Lauren says, let’s build a meaningful relationship here too by giving us a call. You’ve been listening to REAL TIME from CREA produced by Rob Whitehead at Real Family Productions and Alphabet® Creative. Don’t forget for more realtor resources, be sure to visit CREA.ca. I’m Erin Davis. We’ll talk again soon and don’t forget to subscribe and tell a friend to give it a listen too. Bye for now.
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